Beyond Aphrodisiacs: 5 Food Strategies for a Better Love Life
Is there a magic food to rev up your libido?
We’ve all heard of aphrodisiacs – which are wonderful and very powerful – but if certain other aspects of your diet and endocrine system are not balanced, chances are you won’t feel a thing just from eating oysters.
So what foods can boost your libido and improve your love life?
Foods that support your adrenals and rev up your libido are those that keep your blood sugar balanced, your mood stabilized, and your cortisol levels low, while naturally upping DHEA production.
If these factors aren’t in place, you are probably feeling tired, depressed, foggy-headed, having difficulty sleeping, getting frequent colds, or some combination of them. Not only from a nutritional perspective will this weaken your sex drive, but also from an emotional perspective – you just won’t have the capacity to thrive.
So get started on the road to better health and a better love life.
Here are the 5 food strategies you MUST know about!
- Switch to decaf – Caffeine first thing in the morning will zap the life out of your adrenals, leaving you even more tired at that 3 or 4pm lull. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, start by switching to decaf or green tea, then eventually switch over to herbal teas.
- Skip the salad at lunch– That’s right! Contrary to popular belief that salads at lunch are the healthy way to go, depriving your body of a whole grain carbohydrate source at lunchtime will bring on sweet cravings later in the day and disturb your blood sugar balance. So throw some brown rice into your salad bowl, or eat a sandwich or sushi rolls.
- Take shortcuts with your snacks – Instead of mindlessly munching Cheerios or fruit snacks with your kids, keep balanced snacks around for yourself. Always have on hand protein sources like: organic sliced turkey breast (which provides the building blocks for mood stabilization), whole hard boiled eggs, canned salmon and sardines (skip the tuna! Too much mercury and not enough EFAs). Whole grain quick fixes include: Mary’s Gone Crackers and precooked brown rice bowls from Trader Joes. And don’t forget about sliced veggies with peanut butter or hummus!
- Nourish your adrenal glands with supportive foods – Load up on sea vegetables (nori, hijiki, dulse, kelp – which come in flakes that you can easily sprinkle onto your food), black sesame seeds, black and kidney beans. These foods work to nourish your tired adrenals.
- Get in your Essential Fatty Acids – Especially if you’re breast feeding, your body can be starved of the EFAs, essential for mood stabilization. If you can’t get in things like avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds, then take a fish oil or flax oil supplement.
Top Photo: Flickr
5 Ways To Think Happy
We all know that life spent navigating the hectic pace of New York City can be overwhelming, even frustrating. I ran into a friend the other day, and when I asked how she was doing, I got a shrug and an “eh…” like she was some crotchety old grandpa about to tell me about her sciatica. Apparently the city had been wearing on her. But why let it be a buzzkill? Life is way too short to be kvetchy.
If you ask me, Groucho Marx had it right: “Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead; tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
Of course, we’re only human; I, too, get into ruts, succumb to fits of rage and have my fair share of meltdowns. I am Jewish, after all, and I fight my neurotic, negative tendencies every day. I think Moses must have included these lovely traits with the Ten Commandments when he passed them down to my people.
Here are some techniques that keep me focused on happy, calming thoughts. And yes, unicorns, rainbows and cute little black dresses are included.
Focus on What You’ve Got
You can’t afford your favorite sushi restaurant, the pressure of the holidays is getting to you and the last time you cuddled with someone you liked, Obama was still popular. Well, we all have our share of inconveniences. But what in your life is going right? When you put your energy toward dwelling on what’s wrong, you get stuck there. Instead, focus on the good things you have going on. Soon you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also draw more good things your way. Having trouble finding a few things to be grateful for? Hot showers and sugared cereal count!
Lose (the Illusion of) Control
Dharma Punx leader Josh Korda once explained to me why we get so down and out in the big city. He said we base our identity on things that are constantly changing: work, friends, our bodies… Everything in life is constantly in motion and out of our control. Korda’s advice? Let it all roll around you, but base your true identity on your deeper self. Really, the only thing you can control is the way you react to the changes around you. So sit back, flow with the chaos around you and don’t let it make you nuts.
Forget Your Goals
We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best, the smartest and the fastest. When we fall short, boy do we get cranky. Not even Superman himself could be the perfect hero. Yoga principles teach us to be goalless, which might make any city-dweller go mad. But what if your goal every day were to feel joy or simply to be content? You might be surprised to find your greatest achievements grow from that peace.
Endorphin It Up
Sure, you can drink all night, but exercise and yoga give you the same or better effects naturally. Serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is released in your brain when working out. Yoga shifts life’s energy around in your body so that you’re in balance, which leaves you feeling happy and slightly stoned. Nothing wrong with that! Throw in a little meditation and green juice and you’ve got yourself a lovely, happy-go-lucky cocktail.
Be in the Now
You’ve heard it a million times on “Oprah” and from Eckhart Tolle, who writes, “Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” We are only stressed when we are thinking about our future and past. If you concentrate on the present, you’re golden! This moment creates the next, then that next moment creates the following one, and like a domino effect, you’re on the right path.
Life’s too short (or too long, for that matter) to feel miserable. Only you have the power to redirect yourself into the feel-good Now.
Troubled? Just Breathe: 3 Easy Exercises To Combat Stress
What an emotional week this has been for all. Between worrying about filing our taxes on time and even worse, Boston’s horrendous bombings trauma, I thought it might be a great idea to share Dr. Weil’s helpful, quick three breathing exercises!
“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. I recommend three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress: The Stimulating Breath, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting. Try each and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.
The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)
The Stimulating Breath is adapted from a yogic breathing technique. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.
Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.
If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”
So when stress levels rise, remember… just breathe.
Top Photo: Flickr
Trouble Sleeping? Natural Remedies To Get Your ZZZs.
In need of a restful night’s sleep? Who isn’t?! Yet, often getting to bed is more than just finding the time to hit the sack. Rather, it’s also dependent on your diet.
In order to get a good night’s sleep it’s essential to calm your body and brain down before bedtime. And, while some foods contribute to restful sleep others are pretty much guaranteed to keep you awake. So, what should you eat to ensure a successful sleep? Keep reading to find out!
The Key Players (& The Wannabes)
Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic so your brain isn’t so busy. You probably know tryptophan as the post-Thanksgiving sleep-inducing ingredient in turkey. Other foods high in tryptophan include dairy and soy products, seafood, meats, poultry, whole grains, beans, rice, hummus, hazelnuts, peanuts, eggs, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland, plays a major role in the sleep cycle by rising gradually in the evening, remaining high during the night, and then dropping in the early morning. Though this hormone is made naturally within the body, it can also be found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as in all-natural supplements.
Sa-To-Ri-7, with California Poppy and Hops, is a highly-concentrated, alcohol-free, vegan botanical that has been shown to help promote calmness and relaxation. It supplies almost twice the normal dosage of California poppy and hops in a convenient liquid form for optimal absorption and enhanced usage. Add 10-15 drops to your favorite beverage at your last meal of the day to gain the benefits for proper relaxation for your evening. $16.95 per bottle at veganessentials.com.
Alcohol is a wanna-be sleep inducer. And while alcohol, especially wine, helps you fall asleep by relaxing the nervous system, it will not help you sleep well. If you do drink, though, choose red wine, which, more than any other alcohol, contains melatonin.
Sleep Drinks like Dream Water, Drank and Unwind, while perhaps psychologically relaxing (think: placebo effect!), don’t really induce sleep. You’re better off turning to natural foods for a powerful result.
Solace In The City: Meditation Hot Spots
Seems like everywhere I go, people are talking up the topic of meditation. People want to be able to sit still but have no idea how to start. They hear it’s good for you, like vitamins or massage, but are anxious about how it all works.
You would think that sitting still and quieting your mind is the most effortless thing we can do, but for quick and speedy city people just the thought of it alone gives us anxiety!
I’ve sampled many meditation groups and sessions in this city and know what I like. I believe it’s best to start out meditating in a group, before you purchase a CD and do it at home yourself. Once you get into a meditation groove in a group, then it’s safe to take your practice home. Until then, everything in your apartment will be distracting!
Meditation relieves your worries, puts you in touch with your intuition, increases your happiness, and keeps you centered. No wonder it’s getting so much of attention. I personally do a double dose when I’m feeling especially moody. Look out! Here are some ways to reap the benefits of meditation in the city:
Ishta Yoga – Take a meditation class with Yogi Alan Finger 5:30 pm Monday and Wed or 9:30 am Tuesday and Thursday. It’s easy to follow with Yogi Alan Finger and a great way to get started — be prepared to do a few yoga poses before the meditation begins. Then you can buy Allan’s CD and do it at home.
Dharma Punks – Free meditation sittings on Tuesday nights for the hip, downtown East Village crowd. Everyone is welcome though and look forward to a large group. Meditation is followed by a Dharma talk by a punky spiritual leader with tattoos and all.
Shambhala Center – This Buddhist retreat in the middle of the city offers free meditation sessions and classes. They use a traditional Buddhist method where your eyes are half open — which can be hard. But you can also meet with a meditation counselor there to check in at any point to get help with your specific practice.
Bhavani Lorraine Nelson at Kripalu – Bhavani Lorraine does an amazing meditation workshop three times a year the Kripalu retreat in Massachusetts. Find out when and where she teaches on her website here. Once you take her fabulous workshop, buy her CD and continue the peace at home.
Also, to stay motivated at home, take the Chopra 21 day meditation challenge. It started about a week ago but you can sign up late and start it any time. It is a daily online recording about 15 minutes long.
Enjoy the silence!
Check out Ilana’s blog, Downtown Dharma for more zen tips in the big city.
Feb is Heart Health Month! Is Your Ticker In Tip Top Shape?
7 Ingredients for a Magical Winter
Winter is the perfect time to look inward, embrace the darkness, and check in with our bodies to be sure we are aligning with Mother Nature. The better you take care of yourself now, the better prepared you will be for the transformative, blossoming energy of Spring that is a few months away. As our Solstice gift to you, we’ve outlined our top 7 suggestions for appreciating the gifts of winter and tapping into your body’s magic!
1. Nourish your adrenal glands
Yes, yes, you’ve heard us say this many times before! If you haven’t before, now’s the time to listen As the deeply-wired stress-responsive glands and roots of your reproductive health, your adrenal glands need all the support they can get during any stressful time, but especially during the holidays and winter season. As the wisdom of Chinese Medicine tells us, the winter season is when our adrenals and kidneys are most dominant and open to support or damage – depending on how we treat them. Support your adrenal glands with proper nutrition for the season. Include sea vegetables, kidney beans, black sesame seeds, chestnuts, sardines, buckwheat, beets, and miso in your diet. Better yet, join us for the Post-Holiday Cleanse program which will outline everything for you.
2. Move your body
Even if you’re out of town for the holidays or stuck inside after a snowstorm, there are plenty of ways to stay active indoors. Start each morning with three sun salutations or download a yoga class off of YouTube. Let loose – turn up the radio and dance to your favorite music! And if you’re up for the outdoors, plan a date and go ice skating with your friends, family or lover.
3. Think before you choose hot drinks
While it can be tempting to grab a gingerbread latte or mocha as refuge from the cold, beware of energy-zapping effect these caffeinated, sugary beverages can have on your adrenals over the long term. Instead, there are plenty of ways to get creative with your hot drink options while still being kind to your body. Spice up your herbal tea and get more antioxidants by adding a handful of dried goji berries in the cup. Have steamed rice milk, nut milk or soy milk with a dash of nutmeg, vanilla and a sweetener of your choice. At Starbucks, go for a tea “Misto” with soy milk. Need some caffeine? Kukicha twig tea and roasted green tea make delicious yet gentle winter options. Relax with your favorite book and sip away.
4. Load up on water inside you
Since Winter represents the Water Element, take extra care in providing your body with quality, pure water frequently throughout the day. Invest in a purifying filter, to rid your water of any impurities and save the earth the carbon footprint of using plastic bottles. Squeeze a slice of lemon and add a dash of cayenne for a liver-cleansing and warming bonus!
5. Bathe in water around you
The perfect way to end a winter’s day? Immerse yourself in a hot bath filled with your favorite salts, herbs and essential oils. It will soothe your skin from the harsh weather and promote detoxification. Light a few candles and play soothing music to promote your deepest relaxation.
6. Give and receiveFeeling drained from frantic gift-shopping that feels overdone or unnecessary? Give in a different way this year and feel fulfilled rather than spent. Make a donation to your favorite charity. A few that we love: Women for Women , Kiva.org and Heifer International.
7. Reflect and set intentions
Set aside 30 minutes for yourself. Click here to open the Intention Setting Worksheet. Winter, being the menstruation phase of the year, is the perfect time for reflection and tuning into your inner wisdom. What have you accomplished in the past year? Where do you see yourself in a year from now? Don’t feel compelled to take action – just start writing and see what you come up with.
Wishing you and your families a magical holiday season!
Modern Day Meditation: Finding Peace Anywhere
The other day I was reading Metro and came across an interview with a “meditation consultant.” Is this really a new line of work? What do meditation consultants do? Sit with you and breathe away stress? Where do I apply?
Then I read on. The interviewee, Andy Puddicombe, is a former monk who studied in monastaries all over India, Thailand, Nepal, Australia, and Russia for ten years. Even if I shaved my head to look like him, I wouldn’t attract his clientele—I’d only kill my love life.
Last year, Andy started a non-denominational initiative called Headspace in London, which introduces frenetic professionals to the benefits of meditation. He hosts events in cool spaces, conducts one-on-one private sessions, and even meditates with his clients online and via mobile phone. Since Andy and his partner launched Headspace, the London press has been all over the story. He’s been featured in Vogue, Time Out and other popular publications. He also just signed a book deal and has a TV show in development.
Hmm… maybe I could pull off a sexy bald ’do after all?
I had to meet Andy and talk more about his modern day meditation project.
Andy and I scheduled a call over Skype. Even through the small video screen, he casted a spell—he was jovial, warm, and extra smiley. The bald look really works for him. He’s not technically a monk anymore, and the position of “lady friend” is already filled.
We talked about my experience with meditation: which usually translates into feeling like I smoked something illegal. I explained how after I meditate, I feel present and grounded, glad to have my anxiety and fears vanish for at least a good day or so, before my next sitting.
Andy explains to me that scientific research suggests that after fifteen minutes of stillness, blood flow increases in the area of your brain associated with positive emotions.
The challenge for me has always been getting my butt to meditation classes at least 2–3 times a week. However, Andy promises that once you take his workshop, you will have the tools to practice on your own. He breaks down his lessons into three parts:
1. Approach: Andy offers a philosophical explanation on the importance of having the right attitude in life. For example, meditation is no different to life. To want things to be different from how they are now is to resist reality. When we resist reality we struggle with life. It’s a move away from acceptance. This applies to meditation because if you sit there trying to actually stop your thoughts and emotions, you move away from acceptance and, ultimately, away from peace of mind.
It’s a common mistake to make though, and explains why so many people get frustrated or anxious when learning meditation. So meditation is less about ‘changing’ the mind and more about ‘understanding’ the mind. When meditation is approached in this way, the potential for benefit is huge!
2. The Act of Meditation: Andy recommends sitting still for 10–15 minutes in the morning, so that meditating doesn’t become just another stressful item on your day’s to-do list.
3. Integration: You can integrate the practice into your daily life if you consider that meditation is about compassion and awareness. On the subway, use your commute as an opportunity to be mindful and present. Andy say’s that you have a choice: You can either sit there wishing you were somewhere else, or you can use a meditation technique to cultivate awareness and empathy for your fellow commuters. (Well, maybe not the flashers and disheveled, smelly teenage hipsters—best not to be too aware of some things.)
We both agreed that meditation would become the new yoga and sweep through the West. I asked him to teach me his secrets, so that I could become his disciple and start my own meditation business one day. He explained that although he has thought about going that route, right now he doesn’t feel comfortable claiming guru status and training other teachers.
Rats. I guess I’ll have to train with the Bhuddas directly. I wonder if any of them can be interviewed by Skype? Let me do some research and get back to you on that. Until then, catch ya on the subway.
Top Photo: Flickr
7 Vacation Slim Down Tips
Does your upcoming vacation have you worried about your waistline? You should be.
The average person gains almost a pound a day while on vacation.
But that doesn’t have to be you. Most of the time extra pounds sneak up on you when you least expect it, so decide right here and now that your vacation will leave you slimmer than when you left.
All you have to do is have a plan.
As you embark on your next vacation adventure, use these 7 tips to come home fitter than when you left.
Trick #1: Cut Your Carbs
Vacation days are notorious for carbohydrate rich meals, and it’s a well-known fact that too many carbohydrates will quickly add up to unwanted pounds. Combat this fat-trap by choosing one meal per day to go carb-less.
- Breakfast: This may be the most effective meal to use the carb-less trick, since breakfast often involves breads, pastries or pancakes. Skip the toast and fill up on egg whites and lean breakfast meats.
- Lunch: A great carb-less lunch is a salad with lean meat. It’s so filling and satisfying that you won’t even miss the bread.
- Dinner: Since you’re on vacation, you don’t want to feel deprived, so dinner is the hardest meal to go carb-less. But if you’ve indulged at breakfast and lunch then make it a point to cut the carbs at dinner. Stick with veggies and lean meats.
Trick #2: Be Active
If your travels keep you too busy for a workout, or if your hotel does not have an exercise room, make a conscious effort to be active everyday. Go on a brisk walk after your day’s activities. This is a great way to see a new city, and also a great way to burn off extra calories. Take the stairs instead of elevator in your hotel and any other buildings you visit. Go on a short jog in the mornings or evenings of your stay. If your hotel has a pool, swim a few laps each morning or evening.
Trick #3: Indulge with Control
Eating out is a must while on vacation. Whether you’re visiting 5 star restaurants or fast food diners, you are faced with the same problem: large portions. While the easiest thing to do with a large portioned meal is to simply eat it all – you are on vacation after all…right? – that isn’t the best for your waist.
When you order your meal ask the waiter or waitress to bring you a to-go box. Take half of your meal and place it safely into the box before you even begin to eat. This gives you no choice but to eat a healthy portion. If you would rather not carry around a to-go box then ask that your entrée be made into a smaller portion. If it is dinnertime ask for the lunch-sized entrée.
Trick #4: Don’t Eat Late
One of the easiest tricks for preventing weight loss is to simply stop eating 3 hours before you go to bed. This is especially effective while on vacation. So skip that late night indulgence and wake up looking and feeling great.
Trick #5: Snack Healthy
Have you ever noticed how travel days create the perfect opportunity for snacking? A coffee and muffin before your flight, a snack on the plane and then before you know it – it’s lunch time! Taking a road trip? This opens up even more opportunities for regrettable snacking…rest stop vending machines, gas station quickie marts and of course the never ending string of fast food restaurants along the highway.
This summer cut unhealthy snacking off at the pass by brining along your own healthy options. Dried or fresh fruit, unsalted nuts, health bars, cut veggies and low fat crackers are a good start. By filling up on these healthy snacks between meals you will end up eating less when presented with a less-than-healthy meal.
Trick #6: Avoid Fried Foods
While fast food restaurants are definitely convenient, with their low prices and quick service, this convenience is not worth the additional pounds brought on by chips and fries. As you enjoy your vacation keep this in mind: avoid fried foods. While this is always good advice to follow, it is even more important to abide by while traveling.
While vacationing you will likely burn fewer calories each day than you would burn at home, and you are consuming more calories due to your schedule of eating out. You are walking a fine line, and eating fried foods would throw you right over the edge. A gram of fat contains 9 calories as compared to the 4 calories that proteins and carbohydrates carry – so you can see that consuming fried foods will drastically increase your caloric intake.
If I still haven’t convinced you to pass on the curly fries, keep in mind that heartburn and indigestion are never fun…especially while on vacation!
Trick #7: Team up with a Pro – Yours Truly!
Well, fitness is my specialty…and since you are serious about creating a healthy and fit physique – guarantee your results by teaming up with me.
Together we will come up with a fitness plan that is uniquely yours, one that fits your lifestyle and brings you promptly to your goals – something that you will appreciate while on vacation and at home.
Call or email today to get started.
Top Photo: Flickr
The 7 Dieting Mistakes : The Habits Sabotaging Your Slim Down
It’s a common problem. You’ve been on a diet for weeks and aren’t losing weight like you thought you would.
It may be because you’re consuming more calories than you think.
Keep reading to discover seven sneaky habits that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
Mistake #1: Forgetting Liquid Calories
It’s easy to forget that the things you drink have calories – some more than you’d think. In fact, some beverages have more calories than an entire plate of food.
It is estimated that around 20 percent of your daily calories come from what you drink. So as you drink your juice with breakfast, rehydrate with a sports drink at the gym, or drink a glass of wine at dinner, think about the calories you’re adding.
For calories’ sake, it’s best to avoid all sweetened sodas, sweetened or flavored coffee drinks, sweetened tea, and smoothies. Replace these high-calorie drinks with water, skim milk, and unsweetened herbal tea. Because while they taste great, liquids generally don’t satisfy hunger, so they are just empty calories.
Mistake #2 Meal Skipping
Many dieters think they’ll cut their calorie intake by skipping a meal, usually breakfast.
But this is a mistake.
Research has shown that those who skip breakfast actually weigh more than those who eat three meals a day. Skipping a meal usually causes you to eat more calories during the day because you will end up eating even more food later in the day because you’re so hungry.
So aim to eat three (or more) meals a day. A healthy breakfast that will keep you feeling full all morning contains protein and fiber. An example would be whole-wheat toast and an egg.
Mistake #3: Oversized Portions
Just because restaurants load your plate with a mountain of food doesn’t mean you should eat that much at home for a normal meal.
Remember that your stomach, like your heart, is the size of your fist. Don’t think you could fit much food into your fist? You’re right. And contrary to what mama taught you as a child, you don’t have to eat all the food in front of you.
To eat a little less, use smaller plates and eat slower so you know when you’re full. Also, remember that portion control also applies to healthy foods, as they, too, contain calories.
Mistake #4: Too Many Extras
A salad is a healthy, low calorie option. At least until you add dressing, bacon, cheese, and croutons.
These add extra calories fast.
One tablespoon of dressing contains 75 to 100 calories. With that in mind, it’s no wonder grilled-chicken salads at a fast-food restaurant can have more calories than a hamburger.
Mistake #5: Blaming Your Genes
Many people give up on dieting or think there’s no hope when it comes to meeting their goal weight because of their genes.
Just like you may share your father’s hair color or your mother’s eye color, there is a small chance you also share your parent’s body type. However, this is no excuse for doing nothing about trying to lose weight.
Stick to your diet and exercise plan and you should definitely see results.
Mistake #6: Eating Without Thinking
It happens to everyone. You’re tired after a long day and you just want to veg in front of the television or read a good book. Unfortunately, mindlessly eating is often involved. You may think that since it’s not on a plate it doesn’t matter, but every bite you take counts.
When it comes to a successful diet, make rules for appropriate times to eat. And don’t always feel the need to eat when relaxing. Try sipping on water or tea, chewing gum, or simply don’t put anything in your mouth.
Mistake #7: Eliminating All Treats
Dieters often become overzealous in their plan and completely rid the house of all the food they enjoy, whether chips, sweets, snacks, or any high calorie food.
This commitment may last a few days until you can’t tolerate it any longer and you overindulge on what you deprived yourself of.
A better plan is to allow yourself a treat every once in a while.
Remember that everyone makes mistakes, but be smart and don’t let these common pitfalls keep your from meeting your weight loss goal!
Reach your fitness potential faster by coupling your good diet with a challenging exercise program. I’m here to motivate, instruct and encourage you to reach your goal.
Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will truly improve your quality of life.
Aim to Add
It’s easy to only focus on the foods that you’re not supposed to eat when on a diet, but by changing your focus to all the foods that you are able to freely eat you’ll stay motivated and stick with it.
Pack as many non-starchy vegetables as you’d like into your daily diet as well as fresh, seasonal fruits. Experiment with different methods of preparation for exciting variety.
Top Photo: Flickr